Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thank You, Evergreen

As a token of appreciation for writing a review of their debut album on my blog Evergreen sends me their debut CD and a Tee.





Thank You, Evergreen.

A nice Christmas gift and what a nice way to begin the New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year, 2010

Here's wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true this New Year, 2010.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of the new Tamil movie songs

Starting with the best, Vijay Antony's reputation as a good music director will only be further consolidated with the release of the movie, "Aval Peyar Thamizharasi". He has managed to make some good numbers different from his usual repetvoire of danceable songs.

Start with the duet "Nee otha solla sollu" a song with simple but nice lyrics. Check out the Santoor tune when the song ends.
Next check out this lovely number by Malgudi Shuba and bound to be a hit, "Kol taana ranghubai".
Next come the three songs by Veera Shankar, "Oththayadi padayailai", "Madathu oli vilakku" and the best of the three, the soulful, "Aararo Aarirao" sung in a very unique style. I am looking forward to the video for this song. Vijay Antony certainly deserves credit for the composition and the way it is sung.
"Guju guju goods vandi" is bound to get popular and get fame for the kid who sang it.
"Yethanaiyo katha undu" is sweet and "Palayn kota by V Antony is ok. "Vadakka Thekka" is sung by Vineeth Srinivasan, son of popular Malayalam actor Srinivasan. Vineeth has sung some bit hits in Malayalam cinema in recent times.

I rate songs from "Payya" next best in this review. "Poongatre Poongatre" by Benny Dayal, "En kadhal solla" by Yuvan and "Thuli thuli" by Haricharan are all good.

And finally check out "Ading Ading" by Dimaan for the movie "Odipolama".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is Idea Star Singer a Malayalam Programme?

After actress Sheela commented on one of the perfomances today I was reminded of an article I wanted to write long ago. I wanted to do it when Roy, the CEO of the Confident group was giving away the award for the Idea Star Singer winners of Season 3. He commented on how ISS being a Malayalam programme had contestants singing more Tamil, Hindi and non-Malayalam songs. Much to his vexation, the contestants were singing Tamil songs even on the awards ceremony. Sheela's comments on today's show about why cannot Malayalam "adi poli" songs instead of Tamil songs be sung went un-answered.

Contrary to these programmes in similar competitions in Tamil contestants do not sing even one non-Tamil number. In fact they are not supposed to do so. Only in the non-Tamil or Other Languages round can they sing songs made in other languages.

ISS need not be as stringent as the Tamil programmes are but if the organizers want to call ISS a Malayalam show then they must curtail the songs being sung in other languages. The same goes for similar such shows on Asianet and other Malayalam channels too.

A new band that shows promise



Evergreen is another rock band from the land of Avial and Motherjane and from the quality of their music it looks like they may have come to stay too. The green and fertile strip of coastland on the Indian subcontinent facing the Arabian sea may not be the rock destination of India but many of the bands from Kerala have swayed the masses. Evergreen is going to do that too.

Unlike every other new hard rock and metal act in the country taking to "Death Metal" these days, Evergreen's debut album "Beyond and Between" exudes rock and it gets better the more you listen. I don't see any rush here on the album to play blistering solo's, riffs, and thundering grooves. Instead the band takes it easy with some lovely ballads such as "Epilogue" and an acoustic number too. There are faster numbers but they don't wear you down like those "Death Metal" growls of other metal and hard rock acts burgeoning in India.

The album opens with the hard-rocker "Vengeance" clearly showcasing what the band is worth. "Vengeance", the fastest and hardest song on the album distinctly shows the band's musical tastes in the heavy sounds of the 80's, from bands like Whitesnake and Deep Purple. Saji Antony's keyboards on "Vengeance" and later on "Sublime" definitely proves this.

"From here to clarity" is mellower when compared to the opener but I was happy it wasn't another head-banger. Then comes "Altar of dreams" that begins slow but gradually moves to a faster number and it features some nice guitar work by Sunil Silvester, the band's guitarist. I don't know why an acoustic version of this song was included though it does sound good too. Evergreen could have added a new song instead. I must also mention Jagan George whose vocals are noteworthy, steering each song. His voice reminds me so much of another singer but I am not able to nail it right now.

You also get a feeling of the sounds of the 80's bands such as Journey, Toto, Europe and The Scorpions. "The Calling", "Run to the light" and "Sublime" reflect this.

"Epilogue" is a nice concluder where you'll hear only vocals and keyboards. The first time I heard this song, I couldn't help playing it twice.

Other personnel in the band are Arun and Suraj who provide all the needed bass and percussion support.

The album and ringtones are available for free download at www.gimmesound.com/evergreen. and you can catch the band at www.evergreenrocks.com where you can listen to the audio songs with better clarity and also watch some of the band's videos.

How much of their sound is going to be accepted by this generation is the question. Evergreen has a long way to go and much to learn to add novelty and variety to their music to keep their fanbase interested, but they do have the potential. Their album is cetainly worth more listens than one.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Classic Malayalam folk song on Idea Star Singer

Oh yes, I still manage to watch ISS in fits and starts though I try to avoid all the nauseating parts whenever possible.

Preethi sang the beautiful "Pallivaala Bhadra" yesterday. I was reminded then of another singer from a previous show of ISS Season 3, Aarabhi who also gave a beautiful rendition. Preethi's performance was more tight and slightly improvised but somehow I'll give the innocent looking Aarabhi the award for the better performance. Here they are, the two videos. Aarabhi's performance was the first time I was listening to this lovely song.

Preethi's performance yesterday.


And Aarabhi's performance in 2008.


Such a danceable folksong, the dancers for both the songs were superb. This song could be a great candidate for Avial's next album. If only Avial could improvise and make a great version of it. Avial, are you listening?

Friday, December 11, 2009

If you are Indian, why you should visit the War Cemetery in Singapore

In Singapore, the Kranji War Memorial and cemetery is a very unlikely place that you may visit but while living there in the late 90's I went there anyway. Not many people, particularly tourists visit this place but if you are Indian and have moved from India to Singapore or from another country to Singapore do pay a visit to this place.

It was both a moment of both pride and of sadness to read the names of so many Indians, (I am quite sure I read Tamil and Malayalee names too) on the stones of their graves. These brave Indians died fighting the Japanese during World War II. According to Wikipedia, there are a list of another 800 Indian names at a cremation memorial where the bodies were cremated according to religious beliefs. I missed this one. It is sure an honourable thing to know how many of our countrymen had laid down their lives for the freedom of man in another country. This could be another reason why so many older resident Indians in Singapore consider Singapore to be more Indian than any of the other races living in Singapore though I am not implying that the Chinese or the Malays do not contribute to the welfare and economy of Singapore. But I am sure that I don't recall reading any Chinese names on the cemetery. Early money lenders, teachers, labour union leaders, politicians of Singapore were predominately Indian. Singapore even had a Malayalee president, Devan Nair. The story of how Devan Nair was ousted from office and stripped off his powers are legend among resident first generation Malayalees in Singapore.

Like other attractions in Singapore the War Cemetery may not be on your itinerary list but going there can be a moving experience. Chances are that you many not find even one tourist there. The loneliness of the place and being there in the evening, when the sun was going down was an experience I will never forget.

Myself, in 1997 at the War Cemetery.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dan Seals passed away, so did Larry Knetchel

Someone who passed away a few months before Michael Jackson (exactly three months before) was Dan Seals, brother of Jim Seals of the super soft-rock group Seals and Crofts. Dan Seals did have hits of his own with group with his mate Dan Ford Coley and then after the duo disbanded, Dan had several hits on the Counrty Music Charts.

However it is his pop songs as the duo England Dan and Dan Ford Coley that I loved. One of them was their biggest hit "I'd love to see you tonight". Dan is the one who is singing and playing the guitar.



There are other songs I like such as "Love is the answer", "Who's lonely now", and "Soldier in the Rain" but my favourite will alwyas be the song "Sad to belong". Like Ford Coley put it, "This song isn't a song about cheating but how to save Alimony and child support. So marry your second spouse first..worked for me." Here are the beautiful lyrics of this timeless number written by Dan Seals.

Sad To Belong
by: England Dan

Met you on a springtime day
You were mindin' your life
And I was mindin' mine, too
Lady when you looked my way
I had a strange sensation
And, darlin' that's when I knew...

That it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

Oh, I wake up in the night
And I reached beside me
Hoping you will be there
But instead I find someone
Who believe in me
When I said, "I'd always care."

Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

So, I lived my life in a dreamworld
For the rest of my days
Just you and me walkin' hand in hand
In a wishful memory
Oh, I guess that's all that it would ever be

Wish I had a time machine
I could make myself go back
Until the day I was born
And I would live my life again
And rearrange it
So, that I'll be yours from now on

Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

Also noteworthy to mention is Larry Knetchel who used to play bass for the soft rock band "Bread", passed away in August this year. Two of the bands members Jimmy Griffin(vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion) and Mike Botts(Drums) passed away in 2005. While in Singapore I, Sathish and Suji had gone to watch Bread during their 25'th anniversary tour in 1997. And here are some of Bread's hits.

Make it with you


and, Guitar man

Friday, December 04, 2009

TANJOOBERRYMUTTS

Got this in an e-mail this morning and couldn't stop laughing for a while. It actually gets better with a second and third reading.

"TANJOOBERRYMUTTS" ...
By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND
"TANJOOBERRYMUTTS" ...and be ready for China .
In order to continue getting-by in China, we need to learn English the way it is spoken...... ......... ........
Practice by reading the following conversation until you are able to understand the term "TANJOOBERRYMUTTS”.
With a little patience, you'll be able to fit right in.
Now, here goes...
The following is a telephonic exchange between maybe you as a hotel guest and room-service today......
Room Service: “Morrin. Roon sirbees”
Guest: "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service"
Room Service: “Rye. Roon sirbees...morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???"
Guest: "Uh..... Yes, I'd like to order bacon and eggs."
Room Service: "Ow ulai den?"
Guest: ".....What?? "
Room Service: "Ow ulai den?!?... Pryed, boyud, pochd?"
Guest: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. Scrambled, please."
Room Service: "Ow ulai dee bayken ? Creepse?"
Guest: "Crisp will be fine."
Room Service: "Hokay. An sahn toes?"
Guest: "What?"
Room Service: "An toes. ulai sahn toes?"
Guest: "I.... Don't think so.."
Room Service: "No? Udo wan sahn toes???"
Guest: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'udo wan sahn toes' means."
Room Service: "Toes! Toes!...Why Uoo don wan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we botter?"
Guest: "Oh, English muffin! !! I've got it! You were saying 'toast'... Fine...Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
Room Service: "We botter?"
Guest: "No, just put the botter on the side."
Room Service: "Wad?!?"
Guest: "I mean butter... Just put the butter on the side."
Room Service: "Copy?"
Guest: "Excuse me?"
Room Service: "Copy...tea. .meel?"
Guest: "Yes. Coffee, please... And that's everything."
Room Service: "One Minnie. Scramah egg, creepse bayken , Anglish moppin, we botter on sigh and copy ... Rye ??"
Guest: "Whatever you say."
Room Service: "Tanjooberrymutts. "
Guest: "You're welcome"
Remember I said "By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND
'TANJOOBERRYMUTTS' ......and you do, don't you!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Jaya's meeting with Manju Warrier



That's Rekha, Jaya's sister and Jaya with the talented actress, Malayalam cinema misses so dearly. Many of her fans still think she is going to stage a come-back someday.

Manju and Dileep visited Rekha on one of their recent trips to the U.S and thus began the friendship. When Rekha was in India this August, Manju invited her to her home. I was in Chennai at that time. Jaya went along with her sister. She was so excited after the visit, that she told me she couldn't sleep that night thinking of the meeting and the conversations they had.

Of the movies I have liked of Manju's, "Kaliveedu" will top the list. I also liked her in "Kaliyaatam". When I watched "Ee Puzhayum Kadannu", one of my favourite among the Manju-Dileep films, I told several friends that it would only be appropriate if Manju and Dileep tied the knot. Amazingly in one of Kamal's (I am not sure if it was Sathyan Anthikaad) recent interviews I was surprised to hear that it was only after "Ee Puzhayum Kadannu" that love between the two really blossomed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

U.S Passport renewal from India, now takes two weeks.

If you are holding a U.S passport and are trying to get it renewed at a U.S consulate in India be prepared to give full two weeks to get it. Unlike in the past where you could get your renewed passport in a day from the consulate, this time your old passport actually goes to the U.S.A, gets verified and then gets cancelled. It is then sent along with your new passport to you in India. If there are any visas on the old passport that expire in two weeks or if you have any foreigner's registration that expires within that two weeks make sure that you are covered during the time it takes to get your new passport.

Filled with blunders, The Hindu publishes a preposterous review of Osibisa's concert

If only Divya Kumar had spent a few seconds (if not minutes) to read the news item titled "Osibisa concert today" on page 2 of "The Hindu" this Sunday, she wouldn't have made that horrendous blunder of mentioning in her review published in the "Metroplus" today that Sol Amarfio was the drummer in the concert that night. It is clearly mentioned in that news item on Sunday that Alex Kwatu Boateng is the drummer. All she had to do was a "copy and paste" of that information. My 10 year old son who has been watching Osibisa's videos on YouTube could say the difference. Divya goes on to mention Amarfio as one of the founding members of the band which is true but did the young Alex drumming for Sunday's concert that night look one bit like the old Amarfio. One stop at Osibisa's official site online would have also confirmed who the drummer that night was as Amarfio's picture is there on the site.

Next comes the incredible blunder when she mentions that the opening song for the concert was "The Gong". This alone speaks volumes that she doesn't know a thing about Osibisa's music. She has mistaken the word "Dawn" for "Gong" and has mentioned in her review that the opening number was "The Gong". Little does she know that Osibisa has never made a song called "The Gong" and even if they did it wasn't the one they opened the concert with. Osibisa followed the opener with their instrumental hit "Music for Gong Gong" but that's an entirely different song. What Divya fails to understand is that in the audience are people who have been listening to Osibisa for over two decades. "The Dawn" is their first song from their very first self-titled debut album. Osibisa these days open their concert with this number. It is all over YouTube. And again, my 10 year old can recognize this number. Just a little research could have saved her review.

She then mentions that "Pata Pata" and "Watusi" as newer numbers from their latest album which is not completely right. While "Watusi" is from the recent album, "Pata Pata" is not. And why she thinks that the recent numbers aren't good is something Osibisa fans are going to question her. The recent offering is a classic. Considering an album as this coming out from a band after 40 years of its inception is a phenomenon. She could have at least sampled the audio clips available online before she wrote that line. And mentioning that the newer music wasn't good enough she writes "audience attention started waning...". Little does she know that most of the songs performed that night are literally from a "Best of Osibisa" collection most of them from the 70's and early 80's. Contrary to what she reports the excitement level of the audience only went up and literally peaking towards the end. The trickle of people who left the auditorium either have no taste for Osibisa's world class music or left for other reasons not necessarily the music.

I only wished "The Hindu" had someone edit this review or at least let someone knowledgeable or passionate about Osibisa's music write it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Osibisa's Chennai Concert - A once-in-a-lifetime treat

I screamed and sang my guts out and my hands are still a bit sore with all that clapping. For everyone who attended the sold out Osibisa concert yesterday at the Music Academy, it was an experience of a lifetime.

For those of us who missed Osibisa way back in the early 80's (If I am right, it was 1984) the concert yesterday was something Chennaities couldn't have asked for more.

My weeks long anticipation, singing their tunes, watching their videos and even getting Chaithu, Suji and her kids listen to the music of Osibisa ended in a brilliant climax last evening.

In two words - Osibisa rocked! It is incredible to believe how they can still create their magic after 40 years. One listen to their latest offering "Osee Yee" will also confirm how they can still be going on strong after all these years. The band's founder, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist (flute, saxophone, african drums) Teddy Osei now in his early 70's and barely able to walk is an inspiration on stage.

My only gripe was the audience. Unlike the concert going crowds of Bangalore the crowd seemed too sober for the music of a band such as Osibisa but that would change very soon. When they started with the usual opener "The Dawn" I thought I was the only guy clapping to that exotic irresistible bass-drum beat. "C'mon Chennai", I complained inside. Unlike a bunch of headbangers the cosmopolitan crowd looked as though they had come to watch a typical classical "Kutchery" performance. But Osibisa's magic would change all that very soon. Crowd pullers, they sure know how to engage the crowd. But even when Teddy Ossei their quintessential leader asked the crowd to dance and sing the audience seemed too lip-tied and unmoved. But in a fully seated audience I wondered if the crowd would ever make a move.

Then comes the ice-breaker, "Ojah Awake", the song that is used heavily in programmes "Kalakka povathu yaaru" on Sun TV and "Rasika Raja" on Surya TV. I think for many in the audience who have been watching these programs it would have come as a pleasant awakening. For "Ojah", Osibisa got the crowd singing. The momentum had already picked up. Osibisa then moved on to perform their other hits, "Music for Gong Gong", "Ai Kobia Yo" and for the latter they got the crowd engaged as well. The best was yet to come. When they announced their next song would be "Ragupathi Raghava" I screamed my lungs out. I was surprised even this song did not prompt the audience to sing till it hit the "Jai Jai Ram", "Sitha Ram" portion.

I had my moments too. During the quieter moments when Teddy was speaking in between the numbers I screamed "Sunshine Day". Teddy responded saying "Yeah Yeah Sunshine". Another member of the audience screamed "Sunshine Day" too and to our delight the band started the song. The crowd got to their feet leaving all inhibitions behind and sang and cheered with the band all the way through. It just felt incredible. To top that, just as the song concluded they started their next big hit "Dance the body music". Back to back the two songs were a treat.

Other hits Osibisa delighted us were "Kilele" where they got the audience singing too, the slow but beautiful ballad, "Welcome home" and another lovely number from their latest album, "Osee Yee". Other good songs I can recall are "Woyaya", "Celebration" and "Right now".

The instrumentalists took time for ample solo's though the solo's were not entirely of the pure rock or of the heavy metal genre. The drummer and rhythm guitarist also took time to display some dancing skills that got the crowd going wild. It was a delight to also watch the percussionists doing their combined solos where the audience cheered and applauded wildly.

Signing off, coming back for the encore with "The Warrior", introducing the band towards the end were all done in perfect style.

For me it was my first visit to the auditorium that Chennai is known for and it was a nice experience. The auditorium is small and the proximity to the artistes on stage is very good. The sound was impressive and I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5 rating for the concert. I would have loved Osibisa perform to a bigger audience like they did when they were here 25 years ago but this is the best a Chennai crowd could ask for.

Suji and the kids loved it. I thought it was a nice induction for Chaithu and his cousins to a live rock concert.

Now to buy the latest album online. The price of the CD's being sold outside the auditorium seemed a bit too dear, unless they had let us get the autographs on the CD by the band members.

Friday, November 06, 2009

James Cameron's next offering, Avatar

After almost sinking like the Titanic he made in 1987 James Cameron surfaces with Avatar, to be released next month on the 18'th. Titanic was the most expensive movie made during its times and now Avatar repeats that feat. At $230 million it is the most expensive movie to be made so far. Check out the impressive trailer at www.avatarmovie.com

If you have a slow connection check out the trailer at YouTube.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Osibisa in Chennai



OMG! I can't believe it. Osibisa is playing in Chennai as part of The Hindu's Novemberfest. I missed them when the band played in Chennai in 1984, during their glory days. The band is on a 40'th year anniversary tour. One of their players Dakua Potato is no more. Osibisa opened with Andanda Shankar's "Ragupathi Raghava" in Chennai in 1984. Will they do that this time too?

By the way if you are wondering if you have heard Osibisa before here goes. If you have been watching "Asatha Povathu Yaru" on SunTV or "Rasika Raaja" on Surya TV the music you are hearing in between the shows is from Osibisa's hit "Ojah Awake".

Osibisa's and many other African artistes and bands make Happy music. Singapore in the late 90's used Osibisa's "Sunshine Day" extensively for their "smile" campaign. Music director M.S. Vishwanathan's songs in the Tamil movies "Ninaithaale Inikkum" and "Ore Vaanam Ore Bhoomi" seemed to have been heavily drawn from the music of Osibisa particularly the keyboard music of "Dance the body music". In fact the sound of the keyboard in this song only instantly recalls these old Tamil movies shot in foreign locations.

From among other hits of Osibisa the ones I like are, "Sakabo", "Music for Gong Gong", "The warrior", and "Welcome Home".

You can book tickets online at the The Hindu, November fest's site. Official tickets go on sale only after November 6'th. But you can book your tickets online. Hurry! This time I am not missing them live.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why you cannot watch cricket while having lunch or dinner

In the U.S during Football season it is custom in many families to get friends and relatives together and have dinners (comprising mostly of Pizzas and pop) together and watch the games. Unfortunately in India you cannot do that for the single most revolting reason and that is - "spitting".

Players are spitting on the ground, players spitting on their hands and rubbing hands together (I saw Ricky Pointing do that disgusting thing in a recent game), spitting drinks after drinking them or gargling their mouths. Players chewing gum and spitting them too. It goes on without any inhibitions that you want to put away your food and take your eyes off the TV screen. It is utterly disgusting. I had mentioned in an earlier post how many Indian players were swearing and though most of them are inaudible the expletives could be clearly understood.

No wonder in Singapore you are fined a hefty fee if found spitting in public. The sale of chewing gum is also banned there considering how much of a pain it is to clean them up if they aren't disposed off properly. Wrigley's gum comes with a silver-shiny foil that you can use to dispose the chewing gum once your are done with it. I am not sure if other chewing-gum makers provide one such foil but unfortunately if the thing is not disposed off properly it can be found everywhere, from cinema seats, toilets, urinals and all those places you can come in contact with giving you such an annoying time. It's a terrible mess if it sticks to hair.

Considering how much spitting goes on here among the general public, India could make a killing if such fines were imposed here too and considering how a huge T.V audience is also watching these matches in close-up mode, I won't mind imposing a fine on spitting players too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A delightful Hollywood Movie Soundtrack by A R Rahman

In another first for an Indian Music Director/Composer, A R Rahman composes all the songs and music for the Hollywood Movie, "Couples Retreat".

Like me, if you thought "Slumdog Millionnaire" wasn't worth it, take a listen to the songs of "Couples Retreat" at the following site.

http://www.couplesretreatsoundtrack.com/

A R Rahman even sings a Tamil song and I can imagine the feeling listening to it while watching the film in the U.S or in countries outside India. The song may not play in its entirety but even a small bit is worth it. Then there is Khailash Kher lending his vocal talents in another song, an afro number and other delightful tunes. Check it out.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Two stunning performances

The first is an old one performed way back in July this year by Neethu, the singer with a very unique voice on Idea Star Singer. Here Neethu is performing in the Remix round. Her Hindi though not perfect is suprisingly good for a singer singing in Hindi for the first time. A lovely performance.



And the next, Lekshmi in the judges round, recently from Super Star 2. Music director Deepak Dev was so much in awe of her watching her sing his song that towards the end he joined her on stage. This performance gave me the goose bumps.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Prinia chicks at Satish's home (two weeks ago)

I am happy that they have hatched, looked after well and must have taken to flight.

Here are the pics. I was lazy to watermark them and post them.

Day 2.


Day 2, another pic.


Day 3.


Day 5.


Day 7.


Day 12 or day 13. In this final pic, the only one where I used the camera's flash you can see the colour differences of the feathers on the body of the chicks. Two days after this pic was taken I found the nest empty.

Monday, September 21, 2009

How to fix your BSNL Modem's configuration

This time when I got back my Internet connection, I was wondering how long it is going to take BSNL fix everything and get me up and running. I was too naive to think that just getting back my username and password would re-establish my connection. How wrong I was. Calling customer care is/was a nightmare and the assurance that someone would turn up at my door to fix my modem was totally unreliable.

Thanks to the web, I then start searching stuff on Yahoo. After some hits and misses I was able to get to a website where the simple documentation for the HUAWEI MT800 modem was available that did the trick. When the BSNL guy called that evening I was thrilled to tell him everything was O.K. So if you want to configure your BSNL Modem (HUAWEI MT800) check out this page.

http://mp.bsnl.co.in/bb/mt800/mt800.htm

The only problem I had was with the IP configuration to be done prior to using the steps on this page. These are documented too. A link is provided before you begin the configuration steps called "Assign IP Address". Here if you don't use the right IP addresses your modem will be recognized as some other modem, with a different model number. You may have to make a note of your old IP, Gateway and DNS server addresses before you attempt to use the ones mentioned on the Assigning IP Address page. For me my old IP addresses worked. Several re-boots and resetting of the modem (before doing the configuration) helped me configure the modem correctly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A R Rahman is back at doing what he is best at

One song is already ringing in my ears. It is a superb composition called "Aaj Dhil Gusthak Hai" from the upcoming Hindi film Blue where Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Goshal have sung the duet brilliantly. Both music and song are stylish to listen to. The rest of the songs seem ok but then I have listened to them just once.

Check the songs at Musicmazaa

Friday, September 11, 2009

My cousin's son debuts as music director

Abishek, (Original name Ragesh) who works as a recording engineer at Chithra's studio in Chennai has composed 5 songs for Kalabhavan Mani's next multi-lingual movie titled "Black Stallion". Check out this catchy number which is sure to be the hit from the movie. I should also mention Rimi Tomi who provided the female vocal for this duet and who also shines in this song.



I was in Chalakudy when Ragesh recorded this song with Mani and I missed the opportunity to watch the recording though it is actually not a very enjoyable thing. You are doled in this sound proof room where you cannot get out and where just as in the world of acting, innumerable takes of different portions of the song are made. The final song is then made via a cut and paste job. I did watch an M.G.Sreekumaran recording at Chithra's studios once and decided I would never get into that room again.

Ragesh has done numerous recordings for music directors. Among several hits he has recorded one notable song that comes to mind is "Kangal Irandal" for the movie Subramanyapuram.

"Black Stallion" by the way is produced by my cousin Jagadesh Chandran whose father, my Valliyachan had passed away recently.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We need more of "eerum"

Not only the "eerum" or wetness from rains that this part of India is longing for but also songs like the ones Dhaman has composed for the Tamil Movie "Eerum". Check out the lovely songs at MusicMasaa giving the feel of beautiful, eagerly awaited rain.

I'll rate Harris Jeyaraj's songs for Adhavan behind the songs of "Eerum" for this time. "Hasili Fisiliye" by Karthik is a nice one but stereotyped. The rest don't impress. Listen to the song at Musicmazaa.

"VenPanju" sung by Udith Narayan and Karthik is a lovely tune from Vidhyasagar for the movie "Kanden Kadhalai" the Tamil version of "Jab We Met". Listen to it at Musicmazaa.

Shruthi Haasan's music for her dad's latest film "Unnai Pol Oruvan" is far from impressive. One song with Blaze was OK when she sings her lines. Otherwise I thought it was nothing new and using Kamal Haasan's old vocals for two songs wasn't a good idea either.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Update on the Prinia nests

It was heartbreaking to see the nest on Sunday morning devoid of any eggs or the bird. The day before I noticed a Treepie sitting on a branch of the nearby coconut tree very close to the nest. It probably discovered the nest and the eggs. Too much winds might have exposed the nest. I found only three eggs that evening. The bird was in the nest though on Saturday night incubating her eggs. However on Sunday morning none of the eggs were there. The bird was missing too. Maybe some predator harvested the eggs. Both the Treepie and the chipmunk are capable of this as both consume the eggs of other birds. If only I had laid some thorny shrubs around the nest probably I could have saved the remaining eggs. I thought they were only days away from hatching. What a sight that would have been!

The good news is that the three eggs in the Prinia's nest at Sathish's home have hatched. They might have hatched on Sunday or Monday. No sound can be heard but I could see the tiny little ones open their mouths for food. What a sight! It was like seeing God. Mommy bird is busy looking after the newborn. Wonder how many will make it. The nest is so secure that it is very difficult to take a good picture. If I am able to take a pic I will post it here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy Onam 2009

Here's wishing all my Malayali readers and all other readers who are celebrating Onam, a very Happy Onam!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is it Prinia nesting season?



I locate a second nest at my brother's home. The bird here has laid three eggs and is currently incubating them. Unlike the nest in my home, this one at my brother's place is made of just two leaves instead of three.



It is unbelievable to see how the nests are surviving the winds and the occasional heavy downpours.



The Prinia at my home doesn't hardly leaves its nest these days, even during the day. Here's a pic I took last night, in its nest. Ah! I managed to put a watermark in the image.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Now, Super Star 2 on Amritha to thwart Idea Star Singer Season 4

So much bad programming on Idea Star Singer that I only watch it bits and pieces these days. There have been some good performances but considering how many "cringe" moments I have to put up with it, ISS isn't worth it. The bus conductor Anil and did perform some good stuff. Many a time I though the judges were going too far in interfering with the personal lives of the contestants. The poor contestants are being bullied and can only play subservient to these judges fearing they'll be thrown out. I watched in a video how a 10 yr old on "Britain's Got Talent" tell Simon, "I am not obliged to answer that question". Even President Barack Obama mentioned in his appearance on the Jay Leno show that running the White House is like American Idol, except that every one is Simon. Imagine an ISS contestant saying such a thing to a judge here. For the kind of questions M G Sreekumaran and Sharath are asking it is high time someone actually showed some attitude telling these guys to go take a hike.

Meanwhile Super Star 2, the successor to Super Star Global has begun on Amritha and as usual going great guns. I watched performances there that I have never seen in the entire history of Idea Star Singer. Here is one.



And another lovely one that same day by Lekshmi Sree.



Even the song selection is superb. Lekshmi performed a song from Vikram's upcoming "Kadhaswamy" which was yet to be released. That was something so refreshing from the repetitive and boring songs of ISS. The audience participation on SS2 was something unseen to this day on ISS. Judges going gaga over a performance? Why not? As Joe Black says in the movie "School of Rock", Where's the passion man? and why not let it show?

While I still prefer the old host at SSG, the new girl is way better than Ranjini on ISS though she too has a tendency to speak more English.

I did watch Roopa perform a lovely song on the show.



But it is so sad to watch her these days sitting in the audience behind the judges and cheering the participants. Annu Jose who was knocked out of ISS Season 4 from the very first elimination round is here on SS2 and so is Nikhil from ISS 2007.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Vazha kulachu", the banana plant has borne fruit, but....



We've had banana's earlier at out parent's place but this is the first time we've had one at our home. Unfortunately the gardener has deceived us. I am told that the bananas aren't the sweet ones. Instead they are the "Vazhakaya" or "Vazhaka", the ones used to make the side dishes or poriyals and "mezhukku varatis".

Amma says its "Pindi", the innermost part of the trunk is more tastier than the "Pindi" of the plant (actully herb) of the sweet bananas.

And while taking a pic of the tree here's something I caught resting on the leaf of a shrub nearby.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kailash Kher and Kailasa are back with a rocker



Check out "Chaandan Mein" and you are not going to stop playing the songs. Throughout you are going to listen to lovely music and great singing from Kailash Kher.

Here's my quick review of the songs.

1.Nadhin dhin dah - very much Jumpin Jackflash/Raghupati raghava types from the Ananda Shankar album. A rocker with lovely sitar playing.

2.Chaanden mein - Melodious/Lovely.

3.Teri Yaad - Beautiful slow ballad

4.Rang Rang Ma - Superb and catchy; another nice rocker.

5.Bheeg gaya mera man - Lovely singing; music accompaniment is top class. Lovely flute and mandolin/banjo solos.

6. Ish ho gaya - slow song, not a bad one, sung well but the sad part why is "ishq ho gaya" is sung sadly with pain when it should be a happy thing

7. Khar khar - peppy number, a filler and nothing special.

8. Piya ghar avenge - superb slow number

Honestly cannot wait to hear more from this singer and his band Kailasa featuring bassist Naresh Kamath (who also plays for the Malayalam alternative rock band "Avial") and his brother Paresh?.

Check out the songs at MusicIndiaonline.com

Good show guys. What an album!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Prinia and its nest outside my window

It has been a bird-watching delight starting with the nest building and now with the incubation in progress.

First the bird that I am referring. The pic is poor but this is the best I could do with my point and shoot.



After some research I think it is the Ashy Prinia also known as the Wren Warbler. It's a tiny bird with very quick reflexes and can be distracted with the slightest disturbance or human intervention.

The nest that it built in two days. There are two leaves on top that it stitched weaving threads out of cobwebs and puncturing holes in the leaves using its beak and sewing them using the cobweb threads. There are two leaves on top and a third below.



Next the eggs that it laid, one per day. Here is the first one.



Using the blurred image of my finger as a scale, you must estimate the tiny size of the eggs. Two on the next day.


And then there were three.


A better view of the three eggs.


And then there were four.


The bird is currently incubating the eggs now. Will keep track of the progress and report the same.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why isn't Prem Joshua suing malayalam music director P Jaychandran

This is the second time Jaychandran has lifted Perm Joshua's music for a Malayalam movie. Unlike the previous tune he lifted from the album "Earth meets Sky" (check out my review of this lovely album at http://www.great-anonymous-albums.com/music-for-the-soul/) this time the music is directly lifted and applied to the Rajasenan movie "Bharya Onnu Makkal Moonu". The song that is playing in the background when the trailer is being shown is "Bol Hari" from the album "Dance of Shakthi".

What a way to copy! Can't believe a leading music director would resort to this and also think he could get away. If credit is being given in the Titles of the movie to Prem Joshua then I'll take back my article but I doubt if it is being done.

Rain and Shine

Chennai has been getting some good showers of late. Here are some pics I took when it rained here last Monday. Any guesses as to what I photographed in these pics.





This one should tell you for sure.



Earlier in May I took pics of these clouds when the sun went behind them. My neighbour Shaukath was the one who told me to take the pics saying my point-and-shoot digital could take them well.





Flame of the Forest in Full bloom

This "Flame of the Forest" tree or Gulmohar has more flowers than leaves. I took this picture somewhere in late June.



Wikipedia reports that the Gulmohar has a threatened conservation status.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Malayalam cinema loses veterans

In a span of months Malayalam cinema lost some stellar personalities. Actor Murali was the most recent with actor Rajan P Dev and Writer and Director Lohithdas passing away just a few months earlier.

Murali was unforgettable in movies "Varavelpu", "Karunyam" (which was a Lohithdas movie), "Amaram", a lesser known "Garshom" and in "Kireedam" just to name a few. Another movie of his that I can remember for his stellar role is one where he brings up Rehana, who plays his daughter, as his friend Suresh Gopi's child. The movie brought me to tears.

Rajan P Dev added another facet to the stereotyped Villain and in the process played the role in Tamil and Telugu movies too. In his Villain roles he was good at comedy too. Just a week before his passing away I couldn't help laughing at his role in the movie "Chocolate".

Lohithdas will be remembered for his screenplay work on many of Malayalam cinema's classics such as "Kireedom", and the sequel "Chenkol", "Thaniayavartham", "Amaram", "Dasaratham", "Jathakam", "Mukthi" and "Valsalyam" and as a director his "Karunyam" will always be one my favorite Malayalam films of all time. Only just a few vacations earlier had we seen his "Neivedyam" his last movie. His "Kasthooriman" starring Meera Jasmine, an actress he introduced to Malayalam is also worth mentioning.

All three veterans leave a void that is difficult to fill. May their souls rest in peace.

The last of the mangoes this season

Summer's gone and in arid Chennai we are getting showers now and then though the monsoon in Tamilnadu is only expected later in the year. While the mango season is officially over you could still get mangoes. Here is one from the "Rumani" (correct me if I am wrong) variety that is also running out fast. Most other popular varieties are already out, particularly the Banganampally ones from Andhra Pradesh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My dearest, one and only Valliyacchan passes away

"Oh Death, how much you make me feel like turning back the clock just to my previous Kerala vacation where I could have seen him just one more time." I deeply regret I didn't do that. Now that he is gone can I hear his powerful voice one more? His advice, his jokes, his words of courage and the way he used to imitate other people. But his biggest strength was the way I saw him facing death, particularly when his son-in-law passed away. What I saw in him was a mountain of strength. Being an ex-army man he would tell me of the deaths and suffering he had seen in the three wars he had been in. One of those wars was in Congo when the Indian army was sent as part of the UN Peace Keeping mission way back in the early 60's. I still recall those pictures of him in Congo. He would tell me he hadn't shot or killed anyone but he had seen enough death and suffering. He would also take part in the Goan war and later in one of the wars with Pakistan. He was a very brave man. Among many of the tips and tricks from his life in the army he would tell me that if you were to lie on the ground, with your ears to the ground you could always hear anyone or any animal coming towards you even if you are asleep.

Valliyachan was a brilliant actor too. No wonder he used to sneak out after dark from his home (as Valliyamma was totally against it) to act in plays. I also recall Mini (his daughter, my cousin) preserving a black and white poster from one of those plays where Valliyachan played the role of a Police Inspector.

Valliyachan always kept himself active be that in the fields attending to the plants or at home. No wonder he was in such good health. He was an exceptional cook. Non-vegetarian was his speciality. All you had to do was to give him the live chicken and he would take care of the rest. Oh yes, he had his own way of killing the bird. He would tell me it was a painless method but the truth is we would never hear a sound or struggle. I still recall him cooking chicken in the open pot for the entire family while we cousins would spend our time playing.

I will never forget his great love for children too. Even Chaithu, remembers him so well. In fact he had left the army so that he could spend more time with his son.

Every man has his share of good and the bad but to me Valliyachan's immense potential was completly wasted. Death brings so much forgiveness in the minds of people. I pray I remember the many wonderful things I learnt from him. For me there will never be another Valliyachan like him. May his soul rest in peace.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The TATA bus in Singapore

The first Tata Nano or the US$2000 car (I am told fully loaded ones could cost upto $4000) was given to the first customer yesterday. Coinciding with the release of the Nano I have an interesting story.

In early 1996 while working in Singapore I used to stay in an apartment at the Spottiswoode Park area located across the street in front of Singapore General Hospital. I stayed there for almost a year. My workplace was at Suntec City Tower and I used to take a bus to work. While waiting at the bus stop everyday a TATA Bus would come there to pick up employees to a company. It was way different from the automatic-geared Volvo's. It was half the size of the Volvo's and it wasn't air-conditioned either but it used to feel so good to see a TATA bus picking up Singaporeans to work. Wonder if it still in service. Maybe it still is. Wish I had taken a pic of the bus.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Help me identify this bird

I got it a couple of months ago and it looks rare. My animal and avian enthusiasts next door, Shaukath Ali and Madhu (more on Shaukath later) couldn't identify it too. It has been given to Blue Cross.



I even tried to set it free on the terrace but it wouldn't fly away.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The last of the fusions on Swaralayam on ISS

Last Friday saw the last of the fusion performances as the judges have switched to talking about popular music directors a new turn on Swaralayam. The best of Swaralayam could easiy compile into a good album.



One contestant who seems to be singing P. Susheela's songs with total ease is Neethu. Here is her first performance on ISS, Season 4.



I know of late my posts have been about ISS only. Time for other posts. Coming soon.

Friday, July 03, 2009

More nice Swaralayam pieces at ISS

This one was on the first of July.



and this one yesterday, another fine piece with lovely bass arrangements.



and if I am right there's a nice one coming today too.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The top 20 best places to live in the World does not have a single U.S city

The only cities from North America are the three cities from Canada, namely Ottawa, Toronto (one of my favorite North American cities) and Vancouver (consistently within the top 5). Even last years list did not have it though I remember L.A listed.

The 20 countdown by Forbes, click this link.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My favourite Michael Jackson video

I think this is also the favourite of many other MJ fans. Who will not forget Michael Jordan, the young dancers, Michael Jackson trying to score baskets, Michael trying to dodge Michael Jordan and the unforgettable, Michael Jackson teaching Michael Jordan to dance. Unfortunately the embed has been disabled on this one on YouTube but here's the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13ZGZexsaFo&feature=fvste2

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King is dead

My enthusiasm to watch the beautiful Mallu song with Suji to day has been dampened by the demise of Michael Jackson.

Growing up in the 80's Michael Jackson was an icon of the youth and music no matter how much we preferred Rock and Heavy Metal to pop. I have liked many of his songs particularly "Human Nature", "The Girl is mine" and the unforgettable "One day in your life" to name a few. He will be missed for his music and dance by fans all over the world. Hard to believe he was to start a tour next month.

I am sad to find out that Farah Fawcett is dead too after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Two stars gone from our world. May their souls rest in peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A song you'lI fall in love on the first watch

It was love at first sight. The song is "Picha Vacha Naal Mudhal" and is from Prithviraj's latest movie "Puthiya Mugham". The song is picturised quite well but it is the song, sung by Shankar Mahadevan and composed by Deepak Dev that is the magic. It has a touch of another song of his. BUT NEVER MISS THIS SONG, EVER! I have been listening to it ever since I saw it on T.V.



The only drawback is Shankar Mahadevan's Malayalam diction. Someone must have corrected it.

Come to think of it Jaya has the opportunity of talking to PriyaMani when they were shooting some portions of the film in Chalakudy during her recent visit. Didn't know it had this sweet number in it when Jaya called me many Fridays ago in all her excitement about talking to Priyamani then.

Why can't someone sing this on Idea Star Singer. Why sing the same old songs again and again and again every year.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anoop delivers a nice one on ISS

Lovely song by Anoop though his gesticulations were a bit too exaggerated. Some portions looked lip-synced too. Nevertheless it was a lovely song and performance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A new lovely Mallu song I have been tracking for sometime

I have been waiting for this song and musicindiaonline.com has been eluding me for a long time. Finally it is accessible.

The movie is "Kadha Samvidhanam Kunjacko" and the song "Neela Koovala". Check it out here.

Music is by Thej and if I am right the male singer is Vineeth Sreenivasan. Meena and Sreenivasan are back as a duo after "Udayananu Thaaram".

And if you still haven't heard Najeem Arshad's (winner Idea Star Singer, 2007) movie hit from the movie Chembada, here it is on musicindiaonline.com. What a joy it was when it was played at one of the cinemas (I think Ainikkal) this holiday in Kerala.

Yet another lovely Swaralayam piece at ISS

Seriously Sharath must considering taking several of these songs and compile an album. This is the third song from Swaralayam that I was very impressed where Sharath tuned popular songs in a novel way. As usual Chithra's portion rocked. Wish they only laster longer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another lovely fusion at ISS Season 4

Sharath should consider making an album if he can compose these lovely songs.

Idea Star Singer's host Ranjini's new phrase

As if we aren't tired of her "..and of course..", "not bad at all", "fabewlous", "anyways" (fill me in here guys for others) here comes another, "spot on yaar" and "spot on". Not forgetting her mannerisms, gestures, face/lip contortions, dance and Malayalam. If only she knew her frustrated viewers...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Death all around us

On Sunday begins the slaughter,
So much of death all around us,
Birds taken to their deaths,
They know not knowing where they are being taken to,
And later man bargaining and paying for their dead bodies and body-parts.



Another closer pic, the flare is the reflection from the windscreen of the cab.

Two marriage receptions yesterday

Actually invited to three but could make it to unavoidable two of them. Luckily the reception venues were at about 3 Km apart from each other.

The first was of Sathya's, ex-Vizualite where I could meet only few of my ex-company friends. Sathya ensured that for the music, songs were restricted to instrumental versions instead of blaring singing. There was even someone asking guests if the volume was ok. That was real sweet.


The second one was of Mr.Vishwanathan's daughter Sowmya who is a resident of our colony. Must mention that the food was awesome at the second reception. It was a nice feeling when the singer started singing "Thumbe Vaa" the malayalam hit of Ilayaraja in the midst of the Tamil numbers.


The nice co-incidence was the similarity of the garlands that the two couples were wearing.

A lovely song from Gangai Amaran and Vijay Yesudas

Check out "Vaan Nilavuthann" from the movie "Pugaipadam" at MusicMazaa.com. The reason I am posting this info is because Vijay is finally beginning to sound more like his father, the legend, Yesudas. The song has an old-song feel that is also nice.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Preethi rocks on Idea Star Singer

In fact in none of the performances so far has Preethi faltered one bit. Here's how she performed yesterday leaving the judges spell-bound. Clearly she is one of my favourites for the grand prize. Her take-it-easy, bubbly and cheerful demeanour is a plus.

The video below has her singing a Hindi song and that's perfectly done too. The acoustic version of "Naino Me Badra Chaye" is beautiful.

Quality of ISS goes further down

As if not sick and tired of the cringe moments that mar the show, here come four more to add to it, the mentors, after splitting the non-eliminated members into four groups.

I was sad to see Anu Jos go. Her quality of singing did come down but considering how many poor singers are there I think they should have given her a second chance.

The quality of performances barring a few like Preethi from Bombay (who will be singing today as well) has come down drastically. With the mentors canvassing for their team members judges are in a quandary as to how to offer low marks as well.

Meanwhile yesterday this fusion number from the singers/judges was worth mentioning and watching.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pics and details from recent Kerala trip

A trip that passed by so quickly, thanks to the constant travelling.

Here are highlights of the events in pics.

Shajidamma and Shajidachan's place at Kara. No trip to Kerala is complete without a stopover at this home. Shajidamma is more of a mother to us.


Mother's place, Aratupuzha.

Aratupuzha - The Kadavu where we used to go for a bath with Valliyamma is gone, so are the steps leading to the top. The steps have been replaced with a tar road. The steps leading to the kadavu are also gone.

Asha's wedding. This one is after the "Thalikettu" at Guruvayoor.


And this one after the formalities in the marriage hall.
The Sadhya was good and the entire marriage such a pleasant and unforgettable experience.

I meet my collegmate, Haripriya after almost 18 years. In the pic is her daughter, Udhisha.


And the python her neighbours had caught. Notice the huge frog, the biggest I have ever seen beside it that was offered as a meal. The Python seems well fed for now.


And here's a small video I made of the snake and its prey.



Our cab breaks down at Koratty enroute from Ernakulam to Chalakudy.


The huge 75yrs to 100yrs or maybe even more old SharkaraMaavu (Mango tree) near Jaya's home in Chalakudy. The little kids standing below the tree should give you a scale of its height.


The fruit of these trees.


Cherai backwaters very near the beach.


For more pics related to the trip by click here.

Movies watched while in Kerala - Passenger, 2 Hariharnagar, Kanchipurathe Kalyanam (avoid this one) and the best of them all - Baghyadevada.

Rain, and heat - It was awesome the first two days with almost incessant rain but then towards the end of the trip it hardly rained and the heat was even worse than in Chennai. But I heard it is raining like crazy there now.

One unusual event - This was an accident where an Alto had tipped and had completely overturned. The wailing of the ladies from inside the car was heart renching but a crowd had gathered around the overturned car like bees rushing to save their Queen. Smoke was already coming out of the front of the car where the engine is and blood spillt on the road confirmed someone inside was injured and bleeding. I felt ashamed to have let the driver just drive by. He was already complaining that if he had to wait he would have to take the injured to hospital. But I guess considering the huge crowd that had gathered the inmates would have survived. I could only pray.

Yuvan's Sarvam and Muthirai

Yuvan scores with songs from Sarvam, now running in theatres in Chennai.

Kattrukullai - Lovely and sung by Yuvan.

Adada Vaa - not bad, looks lifted from some song in the west but innovative with the flute playing a haunting melody with the techno sounds in the background. Was that Illayaraja singing?

Neethane - Good too and only if it wasn't thig long.

The other songs aren't worth it.

Check them at MusicMazaa.com

To-be-released "Muthirai" has nice numbers as well.

"Azhagana Neeyum", "July Madhathil", and the catchy "Night is Young" are the ones to listen to.

Nenjukkulla and Uyirae Uyirae are not bad either.

Listen to them here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Leaving Kerala today evening

Should be in Chennai this time tommorow. I am told it is pretty hot there. It was an eventful trip, this time in Kerala.

Friday, May 29, 2009

In Kerala and in touch with ISS season 4

Oh, yes! I try best to stay in touch though ISS Season 4 is filled with "cringe" moments.

I wanted to post regularly about the best talent on ISS 4 but many singers about whom I wrote big failed in their second performances althoug some did manage both their first two performances well and some who failed in their first did well in the second. One of those was Danny who gave a splendid performance yesterday with Hariharan's song from "Garshom". Neetu about whom I wrote earlier did well in her performance round yesterday too. Both of them scoring 80+ though Danny was the big star yesterday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Arun Naik, scolded by judges runs the gauntlet on ISS Season 4

Sometimes I even wonder why I am watching this show. Most of the time I am only listening to it from the adjacent room unless it is something I like to watch, particularly a good performance. But eventually I end up watching more parts of the show.

I wanted to write this post earlier appalled by the way judges were taking Arun Naik for a ride during his second introductory performance but time was a constraint. I am sure Arun's rating would have only gone up and would have only won him more sympathy from the thousands who watched him early this week.

True, it wasn't Arun's day that day but being told things like "...ahangaaram koodi ..." by M G Sreekumaran and Sharath's, (translated into English) "...could have practised when you were getting calls from new fans.." were just too much even for the audience to take. Imagine all this being told in the presence of Arun's mother. The judges wouldn't stop and one after the other it looked they enjoyed whipping the poor guy. Only Chithra's words didn't seem that harsh. I think Shwetha did one good thing by giving him an affectionate hug and consoling the sobbing Arun. It looked so sad. Asianent is sure selling this emotional roller-coaster. So are they encouraging judges to scold competitors.

And as usual, Ranjini was at her usual worst during such incidents. Don't know when she is going to shut her mouth or get out of the show. Why can't there be a voting for her?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Unusual rain in mid May

It has been raining cats and dogs here for more than half an hour accompanied by thunder and lightning. My Tata sky set hasn't been receiving any signal. So what do I do? Go out in the rain, of course. I miss Chaithu. Cannot describe how it felt to wash away that sunburns in the refreshing soothing rain. Wonder how long it will last but the rains are coming down harder now.

So soothing for the kind of weather we've been having. I was so envious that in the Malayalam channels umbrella advertisements were already showing.

Shane Fitzgerald's prank exposes the state of journalism today

Last year, April, 2008 to be precise, I wrote a post about how The Hindu had copied or lifted an article from Wikipedia and claimed it was an authentic article of theirs as they had an author's name below the article. They then replicated the same on their online edition too.

Click here to read my post.

After this The Hindu has been doing it repeatedly (I am sure they were doing it before too) but it is only now that I realise that newspapers all over the world have been doing it.

The expose came when Shane Fitzgerald a student in Ireland deliberately made a fake entry in Wikipedia about the late French composer Maurice Jarre. According to Shane the late Maurice is said to have made the following quote:

"One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head that only I can hear."

Though Wikipedia did its best to authenticate it and even remove it, the damage was already done. Newspapers and blogs around the world lifted the hoax quote and published them. The Guardian was one.

Once the hoax was revealed The Guardian even apolologized for the error.

You can read the entire article of the hoax here on Wikipedia or here on yahoo news.

And worst of all. Here is something I am going to predict. The Hindu may innocently copy even this report from Yahoo or Wikipedia into their papers not knowing how many out there know they are copying articles, posts and news items from the internet. Let us see if my prediction will come true.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What a way to show off that you voted!



That's my picture of the picture that appeared in The Hindu of one of India's popular families "showing the finger" to the press after they cast their votes.

Am I to believe that Amitabh, Abishek and Aishwarya are so naive they don't know what that gesture of their finger means? At least Aishwarya's and Amitabh's finger-showing doesn't look so bad but Abishek is actually and clearly showing the finger. Did he do that on purpose?

Well they could have simply got the indelible ink on their forefinger and it wouldn't have looked so bad.

And why is the press trying to take picture proofs of people casting their votes.

For a leading newspaper such as The Hindu that published this picture I wonder if any thought of editing took place to inclulde that pic. Don't tell me that the people at The Hindu are also so naive they don't know that gesture of the hand or did they?